Call – Opelika-Auburn News
things – and more things!
This week my wife and I have been unboxing
plastic tubs marked “Christmas.” And packing up other things in tubs marked
Dean is very wise. For many years she has
boxed up seasonal things and stacked them, neatly marked, on shelves in our
Dean’s memory is impressive. She
remembers that she has certain things she delights in using to decorate our
home during the various seasons. Outside our front door stands a little man
made of straw guarding a pumpkin. She paid three dollars for the little fellow years
ago at a thrift shop. This year she
dressed him in an Auburn sweat shirt and put a tiny football in his hands. Soon
the little straw man will be in a box marked “Thanksgiving.”
Wednesday Dean asked me to go out to
our storage room and bring in the Christmas tree on a board. George and
Jeannette helped her make it last fall. We hang it on the wall and plug in the
cord so the tiny colored lights may shine. It is one of our newest things.
Soon we will unbox our Christmas tree and
Dean will remember who gave us most of the ornaments we hang on the tree. As
usual I will listen in awe as she recites the name connected to each ornament.
“Dot gave us this one in 1960” and “Your mother gave us this one when we lived
Lately I have been thinking about all
the things we have accumulated during 61 years of marriage. Everywhere I look
in our home I see things, things, things – and more things. Very few are
expensive. Most of them have one thing in common – each was a gift from
Once or twice a year we go on a
rampage and take a load of our stuff to the rescue mission. But invariably we
find it difficult to give away any of the things other people have given us.
The stuff we give away is almost always something we bought ourselves. We want
to hang on to our gifts because they remind us of people who have loved us,
people we have loved.
So when I am tempted to fret because
the house is cluttered with so many things, I try to remember that we have
these things because we have been loved. We give things, big things and little
things, to others as a tangible expression of love and friendship. At
Christmastime three cookies wrapped in cellophane may be a friend’s way of
saying, “I am thankful for what you mean to me.” The cookies will be enjoyed,
the wrapping discarded but the love will be long remembered. The things that
are not edible will find a place on a wall, a cabinet or a table, joining dozens
of other things that occupy space in our home.
Take a good look at your things this season.
I would imagine most of your things, like ours, were given to you by someone
who cared about you. Think about that. Such things, even inexpensive little
things, are not junk. They are actually treasures that remind you of people who
have made a difference in your life, people who loved you warts and all. Perhaps, like me, you will want to pause for a
moment and give thanks for the love in which each gift was wrapped.
Love inspires us to keep finding a
place for the many things that to us are not clutter but precious reminders of
people who have a place in our hearts. + + +